Fancy travelling back in time to an era of pioneering men and women, where spirit, grit and determination kept them going through the toughest of times? Where people travelled on horseback and cattle roamed, where a homestead was built and a family flourished, where artistic talent emerged, and war heroes were bred?
You can find all this and more by visiting Kilburnie Homestead for its Open Day on Sunday, July 3.
Located on an operational cattle property about 20 minutes from Biloela, the 139-year-old homestead is listed with Queensland Heritage and the National Trust. Its rooms are filled with memories and mementos from a bygone era and its gardens have plants and trees that have lingered on longer than the hands that lovingly planted them.
During the Open Day, when the gates of Kilburnie will be flung wide open and visitors will be welcomed with smiles, there will be so much to explore, enjoy and experience.
History and Heather
Whilst working as a shepherd at a nearby property, John Campbell selected Kilburnie in 1883. After spending two years building fences, yards and a homestead, he and his wife Elizabeth and their four surviving children – May, Tom, Rachel and William – came to live there (their first child, Margaret, died aged two from an illness). Four more children were born at Kilburnie – Alice, twins Ruby and Beryl, and Gordon.
The Campbell family history is rich and diverse – the Second Boer War, the Spanish Flu, World War I, art school, farming, life overseas in South Africa and Canada, and returning home to Kilburnie are all just part of their story.
When John Campbell passed away in 1943, he left Kilburnie to his daughter Ruby Campbell who had remained on the property most of her life. Ruby was a very accomplished and prolific artist, in spite of limited formal training, and when you visit Kilburnie you will see many of her beautiful works throughout the homestead.
Ruby was not married and had no children of her own so, on her passing in 1977, Kilburnie was inherited by her niece, Heather Stewart.
Heather has both run Kilburnie and neighbouring Craiglands successfully for nearly half a century. Heather has three children – Fiona, Gordon, and Helen – who are all involved with Kilburnie.
You will have the chance to meet Heather at the Open Day and she will be giving guided tours of the homestead at 12.30pm and 2.30pm. For the rest of the day, Heather can be found in a cosy spot called “Heather’s History Corner”. People are welcome to sit and chat with her there but please be mindful of social distancing and if unwell, no history chats please!
You can also learn more about the history of Kilburnie through four short multimedia films that will be running throughout the day, and don’t forget to take a look at the recently repaired and restored historic outbuildings thanks to a Community Sustainability Heritage Grant.
Aussie experiences and entertainment
While you’re at Kilburnie, check out the blacksmithing displays, try your hand at making damper and enjoy a mug of billy tea.
There will be live performances from some of the area’s best musicians including Ruby Come Back, Minus One, Del & Friends, the Valley Ensemble, and Robert Carl Country Guitar.
The kids haven’t been forgotten with activities like “Pioneer Papercrafts” and a history-based scavenger hunt. Plus keep an eye out for Jack and Bunny, the two gorgeous cats that call Kilburnie home.
There will be loads of goodies available and informative displays to visit at the Open Day.
Stallholders include: A Little Bit of Lovely of Glass (handmade fused art glass pieces); The Procrastinator Baker (cookies and treats); Ruby Antica (crystals and fossils); Memory Bears Handmade by Jo (memory and signature bears); Bushman’s Tuckerbox (chutneys, relishes, jams and preserves); Zonta Biloela; RFDS; Nourishing with Nadine (vegie ferments and sauerkraut); MRHNDMDAU (upcycled crafts and unique gifts); Eats & Treats by Alex (paleo snacks, treats and playdough packs); Biloela Laser Engraving (tags, keychains, coasters and gift ideas); and Fancy Pets (Aussie made pet gear).
As well as the deliciousness available at some of the stalls above, Darlene’s Espresso Cartini will be there with superb coffee and other drinks, and a cash canteen will be operating on the day with damper and soups, savoury snacks, gluten-free and vegetarian/vegan options, softdrinks and more.
How to get to Kilburnie Homestead
Kilburnie Homestead is at 531 Argoon Kilburnie Rd, Jambin. The best way to get to there is by either off the Dawson Highway (turn off at the Boundary Hill mine sign) or off the Burnett Highway. We advise that you ignore Google Map’s instructions to get to Kilburnie via Callide Kilburnie Rd as this bumpy, boggy, mostly non-bitumened road is best left to those with local knowledge and 4WDs. But coming along Argoon Kilburnie is a smooth, bitumened, comfortable ride the whole way! Just look out for the big Kilburnie sign and you have arrived!
The Open Day runs from 11am to 4pm and entry is by donation. For more details, phone 0438 093 019 and stay up to date by following Kilburnie Homestead on Facebook.